Chance to come and sing in Swanage with top musicians

New dates have been announced for the opportunity to tune up the vocal cords and get expert tuition from distinguished church musicians at St Mary’s Church in Swanage.

The programme for Come and Sing, which is now in its fourth year, is run by the director of music at St Mary’s, Simon Lole.

Come and Sing at St Mary's Church with Cathy Lamb
Simon Lole

The first Come and Sing evensong of 2023 was led by Cathy Lamb from Lichfield Cathedral

Cup of tea and freshly baked cake

Disrupted by the Covid pandemic when no one was allowed to sing in church, the Sunday evensong sessions are now back running once a month.

The meetings start at 4 pm, then there’s a cup of tea and some freshly baked cake at 5.45 pm, followed by singing evensong at 6.30 pm. All the music is provided and entry is free.

The picturesque tower of St Mary’s Church in Swanage

“It is a journey of discovery!”

Director of music at St Mary’s Church, Simon Lole said:

“I started this about four years ago for those in the Purbeck area who loved singing but who didn’t want the regular commitment of every weekend.

“It now draws fifty or so people every time – but I’m keen to increase that number by getting the word out to even more people.

“Standard? You can be any standard you like – that’s the beauty of it. We always have enough good singers to carry it – so others can just dip into the music as they feel able.

“We have had quite a few people who have never sung for evensong before – it is a journey of discovery!”

David Price from Portsmouth Cathedral
Portsmouth Cathedral

Dr David Price from Portsmouth Cathedral visits Swanage on Sunday 19th February 2023

Impressive lineup of guest church musicians

For 2023, there’s an extremely impressive lineup of guest church musicians from across the UK that have been persuaded to visit Swanage and lead a Come and Sing evening.

The first Come and Sing evensong on Sunday 15th January 2023 was successfully led by Cathy Lamb from Lichfield Cathedral.

David Price, organist and master of the choristers at Portsmouth Cathedral is the guest musician for the next one on Sunday 19th February 2023. Prior to Portsmouth, David was assistant organist of Ely Cathedral, having previously held organ scholarships at Rochester Cathedral and Croydon Parish Church.

Come and Sing at St Mary's Church with Cathy Lamb
Simon Lole

Even St Mary’s rector Dr Ian Bird (on the right) joined in the singing at January’s Come and Sing

Come and Sing dates for 2023

Sunday 19th February

  • David Price – Lichfield Cathedral

Sunday 19th March

  • Katherine Dienes Williams – Guildford Cathedral

Sunday 23rd April

  • Claudia Grinnell – Winchester Cathedral

Sunday 21st May

  • Mark Shepherd – Director of music at Charterhouse School

Sunday 18th June

  • Peter Nardone – Formerly Chelmsford and Worcester Cathedrals

Sunday 16th July

  • Timothy Brown – Former Director of music at Clare College, Cambridge

Sunday 17th September

  • Lindsay Gray – Former director of Royal School of Church Music

Sunday 15th October

  • Paul Trepte – Former director of music at Ely Cathedral

Sunday 19th November

  • Matthew Owens – Formerly Wells and Belfast Cathedrals

Further information

  • Come and Sing is once a month on a Sunday from 4 pm with evensong singing at 6.30 pm at St Mary’s Church, Church Hill in Swanage. Anyone interested is invited to just turn up.
  • More about music at St Mary’s is on its website

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